planemaker
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Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:08 pm


.

With all the threads/discussions on A.net about low pilot wages at the regional level, I was really surprised by this article that claims that some UAV pilots are currently getting decent to high wages...

Quote:
By contrast, starting salaries for drone pilots range from $50,000 to $120,000 per year, said Tom Kenville, who founded a trade group called Unmanned Applications Institute International. Analysts who process images captured by the vehicles can earn $100,000 per year starting out.


... one of his fellow students at the Traverse City, Mich., school recently landed a job operating unmanned aerial vehicles for a private military contractor overseas. “He got like $200,000 per year,” Bailey said. “And he didn’t even finish his associate’s degree.”

If this is truly the case, one can only imagine what DD (Drone Driver) wages might be like once the FAA approves domestic civil drone use in a couple of years. The demand will far outstrip supply.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
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DeltaMD90
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:14 pm

I don't really see drones replacing airline pilots... I mean really, you still need a pilot for a drone anyway. Drones can go in hostile environments and stay aloft a lot longer, but beyond that, what is the point?

The next big thing I think we'll see are single pilot aircraft, but even that will be far down the road I would think. You'd need the airplane to land itself, or perhaps it can be single piloted and also be hooked up so it can also be flown like a drone just in case? That seems like a waste of money honestly.

Reading your post again I see that is not what you are implying, but I figure it'll come up somewhere in this thread
Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
 
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Aesma
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:24 pm

Aren't these wages related to the military nature of the jobs, including in some cases bombing people sometimes turning out to be children ?
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
planemaker
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:37 pm

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 1):
Reading your post again I see that is not what you are implying, but I figure it'll come up somewhere in this thread

It may but the surprising issue are the wages for starting DD's compared to pilots starting at the bottom of the career ladder. Moreover, I was struck by the possibility that the relatively high wages of DD's might contribute to the "pilot shortage"...

Quote:
Embry-Riddle recently graduated its first student with a bachelor’s degree, but those who graduated earlier with minors in unmanned aircraft systems have fared well, Mirot said.

“I had a kid who deployed right away and he was making $140,000,” Mirot said. “That’s more than I ever made. Yeah, he’s going into Afghanistan, but he had no previous military experience or security clearance.”

Mirot said many of his students aspire to be airline pilots. But with salaries for commercial airline pilots starting as low as $17,000 in the first year, they plan to start in unmanned systems to pay off their loans, then maybe apply for an airline job, he said.

(The above was from NBC news... Anticipating domestic boom, colleges rev up drone piloting programs
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
planemaker
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:43 pm

Quoting Aesma (Reply 2):
Aren't these wages related to the military nature of the jobs, including in some cases bombing people sometimes turning out to be children ?

No cases of bombing children. They are civilian contractors that are doing aerial surveillance. And wages will only go up once the FAA allows UAVs domestically.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
GentFromAlaska
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:57 pm

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 1):
I don't really see drones replacing airline pilots.

As a commercial aviation application I don't see it happening in the next 30-50 years. I think shared man/drone space flights to and beyond Mars is the next segway.

The only way would be to somehow merge it with the present day ATC tower or center controllers who would operate the drones.

As a society we have to get past the video gaming mentality first. I'd hate to think my life was a graphic controlled by someone using a joystick five miles below me and several thousand miles away.
Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
 
Gatorman96
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:05 pm

Quoting planemaker (Reply 4):
No cases of bombing children. They are civilian contractors that are doing aerial surveillance. And wages will only go up once the FAA allows UAVs domestically.

These salaries are high based solely on the fact that they are deployed to a hazardous zone. Once the war wraps up in 2014, you can bet a majority of these drone pilots will be unemployed. I am a DoD contractor and when I deployed, my salary basically tripled.

These high wages are not exclusive to drone pilots...
Cha brro
 
planemaker
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:07 pm

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 5):
The only way would be to somehow merge it with the present day ATC tower or center controllers who would operate the drones.

FYI, with NextGen ATC. instead of the controller radioing ATC instructions to the pilot/s he will digitally send the instruction to the FMS.

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 5):
As a society we have to get past the video gaming mentality first.

Look around you... it ain't gonna happen. The "future" are already glued to their smart phones playing games.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
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rotating14
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:39 pm

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 5):

Hey there fellow Alaskan! I found this link that supports the ideas that drones will be here sooner than later.

http://www.radiofreedom.us/fedex-wan...-use-drones-to-transport-packages/
 
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Aesma
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:00 am

Quoting planemaker (Reply 4):
And wages will only go up once the FAA allows UAVs domestically.

I don't see why wages would go up. If anything that's the real pilots that will see their wages rise to meet a more acceptable level.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:10 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 9):
I don't see why wages would go up. If anything that's the real pilots that will see their wages rise to meet a more acceptable level.

Supply and demand. Demand is going to far outstrip supply, forcing the pay up.

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Alnicocunife
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:33 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 10):
Supply and demand. Demand is going to far outstrip supply, forcing the pay up.

And then there will be 100 Drone Driver schools pop up flooding the market driving down the wages. There may be regional Drone Drivers making even less than the Gov/National drivers.
 
boeingkid
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:45 am

Quoting Alnicocunife (Reply 11):

I agree there will be so many drone schools popping up it wont be funny. So will this be a way for pilots who lost their medical to fly again?
 
GentFromAlaska
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:27 am

Quoting rotating14 (Reply 8):

FedEx and freight is one thing. Transporting a human for commerce in a drone or other unmanned vehicle is entirely different. moreso because it's five miles up. I realize aviation has made leaps and bounds in the last hundred years.

I know Amazon uses unmanned robotic vehicles (30 or so at a time) with precision to fetch inventory from warehouse shelf's using GPS grid technology with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID).

I just can't see the FAA signing off on it in the foreseeable future. In normal succession I would think a manned mission to Mars or further would come first.
Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
 
Gatorman96
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:49 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 10):
Supply and demand. Demand is going to far outstrip supply, forcing the pay up.


I actually don't believe the gap will be that great. The current contract drone pilots in Afghanistan will be perfect candidates to fill these commercial roles. It only takes a year to take a drone pilot so the job openings will fill quickly...
Cha brro
 
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:06 am

Quoting boeingkid (Reply 12):

I agree there will be so many drone schools popping up it wont be funny. So will this be a way for pilots who lost their medical to fly again?

It better not be.
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BMI727
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:26 am

Quoting Darksnowynight (Reply 15):
It better not be.

On the face of it, I'd agree. But after a bit more thinking, loosening some of the medical rules might make sense when operating drones, for several reasons.

1. Travel is grueling on the body in general. It just wears you out. Drone operators won't have to deal with loud cheap hotels or bad food in what may be some not so nice locales. It may be easier to stay healthy as a drone operator than as a pilot in the fist place.
2. Although operators would need to be working in accordance with other timezones, drone operators can keep a much more regular schedule. Show up, finish off one flight and then do a long middle portion of another over the course of a shift. Go home when the shift is over and come back for another one the next day. Just because a mission may last 14 hours plus doesn't mean the operator must too.
3. Operators can be replaced relatively easily. If one is feeling sick or happens to have a heart attack or something it doesn't necessarily put the drone in danger. Just get another operator to continue. Pilots don't have the same luxury.

[Edited 2013-02-02 19:29:32]
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huxrules
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:05 am

Can you imagine fedex delivery of an object in the same day? Drones will allow that. 1 Md-11 out of AUS a day will be replaced by 10 drones. I can see getting your parcel to fedex by noon and it showing up across the country by 8pm. Crazy. So yes there will be a need for drone pilots- 200k a year is pushing it however.
 
Mir
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:28 am

Quoting boeingkid (Reply 12):
So will this be a way for pilots who lost their medical to fly again?

If you want to call sitting at a console playing flight simulator "flying", then yes.

-Mir
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deepunderground
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:31 am

Considering that you can make 200k as a mechanic or fire fighter in Afghanistan, those numbers are pretty meaningless.

I work (non rotationally) overseas in a remote location (not as hostile as the middle east!), and it isn't fair to compare my high salary to those in the US making half 1/3 my wage, either.
 
ComeAndGo
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:03 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 2):
Aren't these wages related to the military nature of the jobs, including in some cases bombing people sometimes turning out to be children ?

yes and then you can spend some of that money you earned on psychologist to deal with the nightmares associated with that job.
 
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Aesma
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:20 am

Quoting Darksnowynight (Reply 15):
It better not be.

Drones don't drop out of the sky if the pilot loses consciousness. Even do-it-yourself drones costing a few hundred bucks now have autopilots with a homing function, basically if radio contact is lost they come back by themselves.
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:51 am

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 13):
FedEx and freight is one thing.

I disagree. FedEx and UPS aircraft fly over my house out of OAK all day every day. You bet I want two human pilots aboard.

Look, if a drone crashes into the house, it'll damage the house but probably not kill me. They're usually pretty small and light.

If an MD-11-F crashes into the house, it'll take out two blocks and anyone in those two blocks. Anything that big needs to have humans aboard who are capable of making human judgements even if they know that they are about to die.
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Aaron747
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:27 am

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 22):
If an MD-11-F crashes into the house, it'll take out two blocks and anyone in those two blocks. Anything that big needs to have humans aboard who are capable of making human judgements even if they know that they are about to die.

To be fair, the last two times airliners came down in California neighborhoods, the culprit was human error.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
 
longhaul67
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:05 pm

So what kind of drone operations do these civilian contractors get involved in?

I would assume that combat missions where weapons are deployed still have to be done by military personnel?
 
TheCol
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:45 pm

Quoting planemaker (Thread starter):
once the FAA approves domestic civil drone use in a couple of years.
Quoting planemaker (Reply 7):
FYI, with NextGen ATC. instead of the controller radioing ATC instructions to the pilot/s he will digitally send the instruction to the FMS.

Try 5-10 years. The technology looks good on paper and in the lab, but there are still a lot of snags being discovered while trying to integrate it with the existing infrastructure.

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 5):
As a commercial aviation application I don't see it happening in the next 30-50 years.

  

Quoting huxrules (Reply 17):
Can you imagine fedex delivery of an object in the same day? Drones will allow that. 1 Md-11 out of AUS a day will be replaced by 10 drones.

Don't get ahead of yourself.
No matter how random things may appear, there's always a plan.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:44 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 2):
Aren't these wages related to the military nature of the jobs,

See this reply

Quoting Gatorman96 (Reply 6):
I am a DoD contractor and when I deployed, my salary basically tripled.

When a person is deployed into a hazardous zone - the military gets a small extra pay, but the big benefit is that their wages are tax free.

I'm not sure it applies to civilian contractos - but if it does that is also a huge incentive.

Quoting planemaker (Reply 4):
And wages will only go up once the FAA allows UAVs domestically.

I'm hearin that the wages of civilian drone drivers in the US run in the 25-30K range right now, and are trending down as the market is getting more kids qualified for the positions than there are jobs.

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 10):
Supply and demand. Demand is going to far outstrip supply, forcing the pay up.

I doubt it. There are hundreds of kids in the pipeline. It is the greatest opportunity for people who can't pass a Class A medical.

[Edited 2013-02-03 17:44:51]
 
Eagleboy
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:11 am

Quoting planemaker (Thread starter):
With all the threads/discussions on A.net about low pilot wages at the regional level, I was really surprised by this article that claims that some UAV pilots are currently getting decent to high wages...
Quoting planemaker (Thread starter):
one of his fellow students at the Traverse City, Mich., school recently landed a job operating unmanned aerial vehicles for a private military contractor overseas. “He got like $200,000 per year,

I think the OP missed the reference to 'private military contractor overseas".......

......there's the reason for the massive salary. You can bet that any actual drone pilot on a salaried scale in a civilian market would earn far less. Compare the wages of a US serviceman or SF member to that of the PMC personnel in a combat zone.
 
Gatorman96
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:04 pm

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 26):
Quoting Gatorman96 (Reply 6):
I am a DoD contractor and when I deployed, my salary basically tripled.

When a person is deployed into a hazardous zone - the military gets a small extra pay, but the big benefit is that their wages are tax free.

I'm not sure it applies to civilian contractos - but if it does that is also a huge incentive.

Rfields, I am unsure how the military works, but DoD contractor's income is tax free if they stay OCONUS for a year straight.
Cha brro
 
rfields5421
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:58 pm

Quoting Gatorman96 (Reply 28):
Rfields, I am unsure how the military works, but DoD contractor's income is tax free if they stay OCONUS for a year straight.

Okay, I haven't been in a combat zone since 1983 - but the DOD process/ rule was that each month is treated individually.

i.e. If I deployed for one day in August, all September and one day in Oct - I'd get 3 months tax free. But if I arrived on 1 Sept and left 30 Sept - I get one month tax free.

It appears to still be the same based on some quick research on the DFAS My Pay web site.

The President has to designate the region as qualifying for the tax exemption - federal income tax only - social security, medicare and state income taxes if the state does not exempt pay in combat zones still have to be paid.
 
Woodreau
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RE: Some Drone Pilots Can Earn $200k/yr

Mon Feb 04, 2013 6:44 pm

Still that way. there was a line on the chart the ship had to cross. Tweaked the track the nav had set for the ship to cross the line into fifth fleet aor at 2355 on jul 31. Bling. Tax free, combat exclusion, hostile fire all the associated extra stuff for the entire month of July even though we only spent a whole 5 mins of the month in the combat zone. Crossed back out of the combat zone 5 minutes later to meet up with the oiler later that day.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.

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